ch2S08govt2301

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Education

Published on April 22, 2008

Author: Renato

Source: authorstream.com

CHAPTER 2 U.S. CONSTITUTION:  CHAPTER 2 U.S. CONSTITUTION PRE-CONSTITUTION INSTRUMENTS :  PRE-CONSTITUTION INSTRUMENTS Established concepts that influenced our constitution Magna Carta, 1215: Set precedent of limited government and monarchy Colonial charters: Set precedent in America for written document spelling out particulars about government PRECONSTITUTION WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS:  PRECONSTITUTION WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS Declaration of Independence: 1776: Inherent rights of the individual contract theory of government consent of the governed (no taxation without representation) right of revolution PRECONSTITUTION WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS:  PRECONSTITUTION WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS Articles of Confederation, 1781-89 first written document of U.S. government established a “league of friendship” among 13 colonies and central government states were more powerful than the central government central government was weak There was only 1 branch of government: Legislature (Continental Congress) where each colony had 1 vote ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION:  ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION No president No federal courts to enforce federal laws passed by federal legislature Federal government was broke—colonies were supposed to chip in money - several didn’t - no way to force them to pay - government borrowed $ and couldn’t repay it Difficult to amend Articles of Confederation--required unanimous agreement of all colonies ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION:  ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION No national army or navy to defend country - Spanish and French were also in America – the British held on to their frontier forts on American soil despite the peace treaty they had signed (after all, there was no army to force them out). No national currency - each colony printed its own money Colonies taxed each other’s goods - impeded flow of interstate commerce Shay’s Rebellion increased support for giving more power to the national government (Daniel Shay, former Revolutionary War officer, led 2000 farmers facing foreclosure on their farms in a march on a Massachusetts courthouse) TALKS TO FIX PROBLEMS:  TALKS TO FIX PROBLEMS Spring 1785: Meeting at George Washington’s home September 1786: Annapolis Convention - identified defects in Articles of Confederation which lead to A call by Congress for a constitutional convention in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1787 to “revise” the Articles of Confederation CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:  CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION Held in Philadelphia in Summer of 1787 and was attended by 55 prominent leaders who were: all White all men well-educated wealthy Threw Articles of Confederation out the window and wrote whole new constitution CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:  CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION No press coverage - agreed to keep proceedings secret No easy task with talkative delegates like Ben Franklin George Washington elected chairman Two prominent people not present: Thomas Jefferson: Ambassador in France (became 3rd president) CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:  CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION John Adams: Ambassador in England (became 2nd president) James Madison, a Virginia delegate, led effort to write new constitution (Madison is called the Father of the Constitution) Benjamin Franklin was influential in working out compromises. At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest. NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION:  NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. A new law (introduced by Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat from Virginia) mandates that all educational institutions, from elementary schools to colleges that receive federal funds, provide instruction in the Constitution every September 17. If September 17 falls on a weekend, the instruction can take place the week before or after. NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION:  NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION The 2001 National Assessment of Educational Programs in history and government showed that students know little about how we govern ourselves. 75% of fourth-grade students could not correctly identify the three branches of the federal government of the United States out of four possible choices. 73% of fourth-graders could not identify the Constitution from among four choices as the document that contains the basic rules used to run the U.S. government. NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION:  NEW LAW REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO TEACH THE CONSTITUTION 91% of eighth-grade students could not list the two issues that were important in causing the Civil War, nor list the Northern and Southern positions on each of these issues. CONSENSUS IN PHILADELPHIA:  CONSENSUS IN PHILADELPHIA All delegates had read and were influenced by John Locke who wrote that there was a social contract between those who govern and those who are governed All delegates wanted a democracy rather than a monarchy All saw need for a stronger national government with limited powers and checks on power to avoid abuse of power CONFLICTS: REPRESENTATION:  CONFLICTS: REPRESENTATION Biggest conflict was over representation in the U.S. Congress Two Plans Virginia Plan - favored big states New Jersey Plan - favored small states Convention nearly fell apart But Connecticut Compromise saved the day (called “the Great Compromise”) CONFLICTS: REPRESENTATION:  CONFLICTS: REPRESENTATION Compromise made big states happy because representation in House of Representatives was based on population Compromise made small states happy because representation in Senate was equal with two senators from each state CONFLICTS: SLAVERY:  CONFLICTS: SLAVERY Conflict over slavery Word “slavery” doesn’t appear in Constitution – slaves are called “persons held to service or labor” 90% of slaves lived in 5 states (Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia) where they accounted for 30% of the population Issue: Do we or do we not count the slaves for taxation and representation? CONFLICTS: SLAVERY:  CONFLICTS: SLAVERY Eventually arrived at the “three-fifths compromise” - each slave would count for 3/5th’s of a person Slave owners got protection in Constitution for their property - if a slave ran away to another state, would have to be returned People against slavery got provision in Constitution outlawing slavery after 20 years (1808) CONFLICTS: WHO SHOULD VOTE:  CONFLICTS: WHO SHOULD VOTE Conflict over who should vote Some wanted only men who owned property to vote Some wanted all men to vote No one wanted women or nonwhites to vote Decided to leave voter qualification up to the states CONFLICTS: WHO SHOULD VOTE:  CONFLICTS: WHO SHOULD VOTE At time of Constitution all states required voters to own property Later constitutional amendments and laws expanded the electorate to include: nonproperty-owning white males (before civil war) blacks (after civil war) women (1920) 18-year-olds (after Vietnam War) STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT:  STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT New constitution created a strong central government with three branches. Article 6 of new constitution made the new constitution the supreme law of the land. Set up a federalist system: Constitution divides power between national government and state governments Set up a Republic: People elect leaders to govern over them STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT:  STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT Separation of powers and checks and balances prevent tyranny in government Judicial review: Not mentioned in Constitution, but discussed at convention and implied - later established by decision of U.S. Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803) STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT:  STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT Judicial review is the power of the U.S. Supreme Court to review acts of the Legislature and acts of the Executive and determine whether they are constitutional 3 branches of government set up in Constitution Article 1 sets up Legislative branch Article 2 sets up Executive branch Article 3 sets up Judicial branch CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES Numerous checks and balances in constitution to prevent one branch of government from becoming more powerful than the other two If power given to one branch, counterbalancing powers were given to the other branches to check the power Example of check/balance regarding lawmaking: Both houses in Congress must pass an identical law President has to sign law Congress can override presidential veto Federal courts can strike down laws if unconstitutional CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES President Bush had to get out his veto pen beginning January 2007 when the Democrats took control of Congress. The new 110th Democratically-controlled Congress passed a bill expanding federally-funded stem cell beyond President Bush’s executive order to include research on left-over frozen embryos at fertility clinics that would otherwise be destroyed (would require permission from the parents). President Bush vetoed the bill and the Democrats did not have sufficient votes to override the presidential veto. CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES President Bush also vetoed a bill passed by the Democratically-controlled 110th Congress that would have given CHIP health insurance to 10 million children rather than six million children. CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of Staff Scooter Libby was convicted in federal court for lying to federal investigators about his role in the leak of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity. There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not President Bush would pardon Scooter Libby. CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES President Bush ended up commuting Libby’s prison sentence, thus sparing him from serving 2-1/2 years in prison. But, Bush did not grant Libby a full pardon—Libby still had to pay a $250,000 fine and will remain on probation for two years. President Bush has granted far fewer pardons and commutations than any of his presidential predecessors, dating back to John F. Kennedy. CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES The President can make treaties with foreign governments, but they have to be ratified by the Senate. President George Washington carried his first treaty to the Senate on horseback, expecting members to listen as he read it aloud and then summarily approve it. CHECKS AND BALANCES:  CHECKS AND BALANCES But, George Washington was in for a surprise—the presiding officer informed Washington that the proposed treaty would be assigned to the appropriate committee, studied and discussed, debated on the Senate floor and put to a vote—the President would be informed in due season. PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS:  PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS A few years ago the American Bar Association issued a report which concluded that President Bush’s use of “signing statements” undermined the rule of law and the constitutional system of separation of powers. By using signing statements, the president has reserved the right not to enforce any laws he thinks violate the constitution or national security, or that impair foreign relations. President Bush has vetoed very few bills outright in his six years in office (President Thomas Jefferson vetoed no bills, and George Washington vetoed just two). PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS:  PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS But, President Bush has, in effect, line-item vetoed more than 800 items in 100 bills he signed by using signing statements. When a president vetoes a bill, Congress has the power to override his action with two-thirds votes in the House and Senate. But, when a President signs a bill into law and then decides that he will ignore elements of it, he nullifies that override power. PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS:  PRESIDENT BUSH’S USE OF SIGNING STATEMENTS The American Bar Association in its report cited several examples of laws that President Bush has said he will not enforce: A ban on the use of U.S. troops in combat in Colombia. Various requirements that federal agencies submit reports to Congress. The McCain amendment banning the use of torture. Two bills forbidding military intelligence from using information obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. SECRET WIRETAPS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL:  SECRET WIRETAPS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL A federal judge in Detroit, Michigan ruled in August 2006 that the Bush Administration’s warranties surveillance program was unconstitutional—the judge ruled that the National Security Agency Program violated the right to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act set up a secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance—the President had asserted that the President had authority to order the surveillance without going through the secret court. SECRET WIRETAPS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL:  SECRET WIRETAPS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL The federal judge said in his ruling: “There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution . . . It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights—the three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another.” LEGISLATIVE BRANCH:  LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Bicameral legislature established (2 branches) House of Representatives - members allocated according to states’ population – elected to 2-year terms – represent districts which are redrawn every 10 years - elected by people - no term limits—435 members. Senate - equal representation - 2 from each state – elected to 6-year staggered terms – represent whole state – originally elected by State Legislatures (in 1913 17th amendment changed to direct election by people) - no term limits—100 members. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH:  LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Main powers of Congress spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 Congress can tax and spend (power of the purse) Congress can coin money Congress can regulate interstate commerce (states can regulate intrastate commerce) LEGISLATIVE BRANCH:  LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Congress can provide for army and navy and declare war Flexibility built in because Congress has power to make all laws necessary to carry out delegated powers in Article 1, Section 8 Called “Necessary and Proper” Clause Also called “Elastic Clause” CONGRESS/REGULATE INTERSTATE COMMERCE:  CONGRESS/REGULATE INTERSTATE COMMERCE Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce has for decades been used by Congress to produce expansive legislation dealing with: Environmental protections Civil Rights The Americans with Disabilities Act CONGRESS/REGULATE INTERSTATE COMMERCE:  CONGRESS/REGULATE INTERSTATE COMMERCE All of this began to change in 1995 when the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of U.S. vs. Lopez overturned a law that made it a crime to possess a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. Later the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Morrison invalidated a provision of the Violence Against Women Act on the ground that Congress had lacked the constitutional authority to enact the law. EXECUTIVE BRANCH:  EXECUTIVE BRANCH Executive branch 1 president Elected indirectly by Electoral College President must be born in U.S. 4-year term Originally no term limit - but later 22nd amendment (1951) limited president to two terms ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE The President and vice-president are elected indirectly through the Electoral College. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College (1 for each member of Congress and 3 for the District of Columbia): 435 members of the U.S. House 100 members of the U.S. Senate 3 electors for Washington, D.C., which is not a state and does not have representation in Congress To become president, you must win a majority of the votes in the Electoral College (270). ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE In the 2004 presidential election, Texas had 34 electoral votes because Texas has 32 representatives in the U.S. House and 2 senators in the U.S. Senate—in 2008 Texas will also have 34 electoral votes (after the 2010 census, it is expected that Texas will gain 3-4 House seats due to population growth—so in the 2012 presidential election, Texas may have 37 or 38 electoral votes). On November 2, 2004, we went to the polls to elect a president. ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE In Texas in the 2004 presidential election, we cast our votes for either George W. Bush (Republican), John Kerry (Democrat) or Michael Badnarik (Libertarian)—Ralph Nader did not get on the ballot in Texas – in actuality when we put an X by one of the above men, we were really voting for a slate of electors for that candidate’s party. ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE Whoever got the most votes (Bush did) on November 2 in Texas wound up with all of Texas’ 34 electoral votes – it’s a winner-take-all system. The only two states which are not winner-take-all are Main and Nebraska (both states apportion their electors based on the percentage of votes each candidate receives). To win the presidency, a candidate must get a majority of the 538 electoral votes in the Electoral College (270 is the magic number). ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE In 2000 Bush was elected President in spite of the fact that Al Gore got more votes—Bush won the presidency with 271 electoral votes after receiving all of Florida’s 25 electoral votes when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the recount. In 2004 Bush won re-election with 286 electoral votes. If no candidate receives 270 electoral votes or if there is a tie, the presidential election is thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives where each state gets one vote. The Vice-President is elected by the U.S. Senate. ELECTORAL COLLEGE:  ELECTORAL COLLEGE We know who the winner is on election night (except for the 2000 election), but the electoral college does not officially meet and vote until the Monday following the second Wednesday in December. Each state’s slate of electors (either the Republican slate or the Democratic slate) meets at the state’s capitol. PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH:  PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH In a recent speech, former President Clinton said he thinks Congress should modify the 22nd Amendment to limit the president to two consecutive terms instead of two terms for a lifetime. “There may come a time when we elect a president at age 45 or 50, and then 20 years later the country comes up against the same kind of problems the president faced before – people would like to bring that man or woman back but they would have no way to do so” (Bill Clinton). PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH:  PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH Orin Hatch (a Senate Republican) and Vic Snyder (a House Democrat) have proposed a constitutional amendment to do away with the requirement that the President must be a natural-born citizen. It was originally put there because of fears about the loyalty of a foreign-born president. PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH:  PROPOSED CHANGES TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH If adopted, the proposed amendment would enable a number of prestigious Americans to be eligible for the presidency: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California, born in Austria) Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (born in Soviet Union) Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright (born in Czechoslovakia) Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (born in Canada) CONFLICT BETWEEN LEG & EXEC BRANCHES OVER IRAQ:  CONFLICT BETWEEN LEG & EXEC BRANCHES OVER IRAQ There has been a debate raging over which branch of government—the executive branch or the legislative branch—has the power to end the war in Iraq. Supporters for the executive branch point to court decisions upholding a broad reading of the Constitution’s empowerment of the President as the commander in chief of the military—as such, he can send troops to foreign countries (Article II). CONFLICT BETWEEN LEG & EXEC BRANCHES OVER IRAQ:  CONFLICT BETWEEN LEG & EXEC BRANCHES OVER IRAQ Constitutional purists believe in Congress’ supreme power to authorize war and quote the Framers and most early presidents—Article I gives Congress the power to declare war, the power of the purse, the authority to make rules concerning captures on land and water, the authority to provide for the common defense, the authority to raise and support armies and the authority to make rules for the government and regulation of land and naval forces—in addition, the Senate advises and consents on important military appointments. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH Only the U.S. Supreme Court was set up in the Constitution. Congress was given the power to set up all lower federal courts. No size was specified for the U.S. Supreme Court – Constitution says that Congress determines the size - since the civil war the number has been 9 justices. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH All federal judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They serve for life or good behavior. They can be impeached, but rarely are. In recent years, presidents have had trouble getting some of their judicial picks on the bench due to excessive partisanship in the Senate. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH Various scholars across the ideological spectrum have recently put forth various proposals for changing the granting of life tenure to Supreme court justices. One reason for the growing consensus is that the practical meaning of life tenure has changed dramatically in recent years. Between 1789 and 1970, Supreme Court justices served an average of just under 15 years, with vacancies on the court occurring about once every two years. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH Since 1970, justices have served nearly twice as long, more than 26 years, with the average interval between vacancies stretching to more than 3 years. Since 1900, the average life expectancy, in general, now 77 years, has increased by 30 years. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH The various proposals differ in big and small ways, although staggered 18-year terms of active service is clearly the most popular choice among those advocating change. Once fully phased in, 18-year terms would permit presidents to make a Supreme Court appointment every two years. JUDICIAL BRANCH:  JUDICIAL BRANCH Some say the change would require a constitutional amendment. Others say it could be accomplished by legislation. Judges of the Federal District courts and Courts of Appeals also enjoy life tenure. But the various proposals leave the lower courts alone, on the premise that life tenure brings problems that are specific to the Supreme Court. BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION:  BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION The Constitution written in Philadelphia had to be ratified by 9 of 13 states A battle ensued between federalists who supported the new constitution setting up a strong national government and the antifederalists who opposed a strong national government that might infringe upon state power and trample on individual rights. BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION:  BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION Ratifying conventions were held in each state. Federalists argued that: America would fall apart internally or externally unless problems fixed with strong national government Most federalists lived in cities where they controlled newspapers Waged battle for ratification in newspapers by writing 55 essays supporting ratification (called the Federalist Papers) Federalists were often wealthy landowners BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION:  BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION Antifederalists argued that: national government would trample on powers and rights of state the Constitution should contain a Bill of Rights protecting individuals from government abuse Antifederalists were concentrated in rural areas Antifederalists finally agreed to support Constitution after being promised that first session of Congress would add Bill of Rights as amendments BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION:  BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION The Constitution was eventually ratified by all 13 states. It was a close call in big states of Virginia and New York. A Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the Constitution) was added 5 years later guaranteeing individual liberties. In March 2003 the FBI recovered 1 of BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION:  BATTLE OVER RATIFICATION 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights commissioned by President George Washington that had been missing for 138 years (worth $30 million) – it was stolen from the North Carolina Statehouse by a Union soldier during the civil war NO NATIONAL INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM:  NO NATIONAL INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM We the People do not have the power to bypass Congress by getting enough signatures on a petition to get a national law we want placed on a ballot so we can vote it in - (initiative) Nor do We the People have the power to get a national law repealed we don’t like (referendum) Some states have the initiative and referendum (ex., Calif., Oregon, Alaska) NO INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM IN TEXAS:  NO INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM IN TEXAS Texas doesn’t have the initiative and referendum - if our legislature doesn’t pass a law, we don’t get it and if they pass one we don’t like, we’re stuck with it INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM IN OTHER STATES:  INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM IN OTHER STATES Some examples of initiatives and referendums passed in other states: California: medical marijuana Oregon: Physician-assisted suicide Nevada: Voted in November 2002 on whether to allow possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana (had already approved medical marijuana) – the initiative failed RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIALS:  RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIALS The U.S. Constitution has no provision which would allow us to recall elected officials before their terms are up. The Texas Constitution likewise does not permit recalls. But, California does have the recall. RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIALS:  RECALL OF ELECTED OFFICIALS In the 1990s, citizens in California got enough signatures on a petition to hold a recall election for their governor – two questions were on the ballot? Do you want to get rid of Democratic Governor Gray Davis? Yes or No. If yes, which of the 55 individuals on the ballot do you want to be the new governor? Arnold Schwartzenegger, Gary Coleman (the short actor from the TV sitcom “Different Strokes”), a porn star, etc. Arnold won. ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION:  ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping. Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest. AMENDING CONSTITUTION:  AMENDING CONSTITUTION The constitution provides for 2 methods to propose and 2 methods to ratify amendments. 27 amendments have been added so far – all but the 21st amendment have been proposed by a 2/3’s vote by each branch of Congress and ratified by at least ¾’s of the state legislatures--magic number = 38 states. The 18th amendment prohibited the sale and distribution of alcohol – it was an attempt to legislate morality and shouldn’t have ever been put in a constitution. AMENDING CONSTITUTION:  AMENDING CONSTITUTION The 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment (prohibition)—it was proposed by a 2/3’s vote of the House and the Senate and ratified by special ratifying conventions called by the states—this ratification method was used instead of sending the proposed amendment to the state legislatures because of concern that legislatures, especially those in the Bible belt, might not vote to repeal prohibition. BILL OF RIGHTS:  BILL OF RIGHTS The first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They were added in 1791 to limit the power of the national government over the people. There were several reasons why a bill of rights was not part of the original Constitution. Many of the men who wrote the Constitution felt that another bill of rights was not needed because these rights were already protected by state constitutions. Others felt that the Constitution says that all powers not given to the government go to the people – they thought that making a list of people’s rights was not a good idea because they might leave some out. BILL OF RIGHTS:  BILL OF RIGHTS George Mason of Virginia was one of the delegates who thought that a bill of rights should be included. When a bill of rights was not put in the original constitution, he refused to sign it. James Madison of Virginia realized that unless a Bill of Rights was added, some states would refuse to sign the Constitution. Madison was elected to serve as a representative to the first congress under the new Constitution. He presented 17 amendments to congress – they were cut down to 12. The two amendments that were not adopted dealt with the salary of the members of Congress and a change in the number of members allotted to each state. FIRST AMENDMENT:  FIRST AMENDMENT “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” FIRST AMENDMENT:  FIRST AMENDMENT Freedom of religion means that congress cannot pass a law setting up a religion that everyone must follow. You are free to worship as you please or to not worship at all. Freedom of speech means that you are free to speak out and give your side of things. Others are free to listen. However, there are some limits. You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded room when there is no fire. FIRST AMENDMENT:  FIRST AMENDMENT During the 2006/2007 term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a student who held up a banner saying “Bong Hits For Jesus” could be disciplined by the school, even though the student was on a public street at the time watching the Olympic torch go through their Alaskan city. FIRST MUSLIM IN CONGRESS:  FIRST MUSLIM IN CONGRESS In January 2007 the first Muslim was sworn into Congress. His name is Keith Ellison, and he represents a district in Minnesota. He was born and reared in the United States and converted to Islam while in college. At his swearing in, he placed his hand on a copy of the Koran rather than a Bible—and it wasn’t just any old Koran – it was a Koran borrowed from the Library of Congress that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson. FIRST MUSLIM IN CONGRESS:  FIRST MUSLIM IN CONGRESS There were some who condemned Ellison. Dennis Prager, a popular Jewish talk-show host and columnist, said: “If you are incapable of taking the oath on the Bible, don’t serve in Congress.” But, the Constitution is clear on this subject—Ellison had the right to do what he did and Prager was wrong. FIRST AMENDMENT:  FIRST AMENDMENT Freedom of assembly means that you are free to meet peacefully. Freedom of petition means that you are free to ask the government to correct things that you think are wrong. SECOND AMENDMENT:  SECOND AMENDMENT “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” SECOND AMENDMENT:  SECOND AMENDMENT To protect itself, each state has the right to maintain a volunteer armed force. For decades, judges generally have ruled that the Second Amendment covers a collective right of state militias, such as National Guard units, not the rights of individual gun owners. SECOND AMENDMENT:  SECOND AMENDMENT In 1939, the United States Supreme Court emphasized the Second Amendment’s protection for “a well-regulated militia” and upheld federal regulation of individuals’ use of sawed-off shotguns. It did not directly confront the Second Amendment’s scope. In November 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would decide the scope of the constitutional right “to keep and bear arms,” accepting a case involving a dispute over a Washington, D.C. ban on handguns. SECOND AMENDMENT:  SECOND AMENDMENT In this momentous case, the Supreme Court said it would decide whether the handgun ban violates “the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.” SECOND AMENDMENT:  SECOND AMENDMENT The new case was begun by Dick Anthony Heller, a guard at a federal building who wanted to keep a handgun in his D.C. home for personal safety. The federal appeals court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Heller. THIRD AMENDMENT:  THIRD AMENDMENT “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” THIRD AMENDMENT:  THIRD AMENDMENT This amendment stops the government from forcing citizens to keep soldiers in their homes. Before the Revolutionary War, it had been common British practice to quarter soldiers in colonists’ homes. Military troops do not have the power to take over private houses during peacetime. FOURTH AMENDMENT:  FOURTH AMENDMENT “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” FOURTH AMENDMENT:  FOURTH AMENDMENT Limits searches and seizures. This amendment says that before a police officer can enter your home, he must have a warrant, or legal paper from a judge, giving permission for a search or arrest. FIFTH AMENDMENT:  FIFTH AMENDMENT “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” FIFTH AMENDMENT:  FIFTH AMENDMENT Grants the following rights: A person cannot be brought to trial for a serious crime until a grand jury, made up of a group of citizens, has studied the charges. If you have been tried for a crime, the government cannot bring you to trial again for the same crime (hence, O. J. Simpson could confess to murdering his wife and Ron Goldman in a book without fear of being arrested for murder again). FIFTH AMENDMENT:  FIFTH AMENDMENT A person accused of a crime cannot be forced to say anything against himself (no self-incrimination). If the government has a good reason to take away your property for public use, it must pay you a fair price for that property. SIXTH AMENDMENT:  SIXTH AMENDMENT “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of counsel for his defense.” SIXTH AMENDMENT:  SIXTH AMENDMENT Lists the rights you have if you are charged with a crime. It guarantees: A speedy trial as soon as possible after your arrest. A fair jury of citizens who live in the same area where the crime was supposedly committed. A report of exactly what crime you are accused of. An opportunity to defend yourself against any witness who testifies against you. A lawyer to represent you, paid for by the government if you are too poor to pay for one yourself. SEVENTH AMENDMENT:  SEVENTH AMENDMENT “In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.” SEVENTH AMENDMENT:  SEVENTH AMENDMENT Extends your right to a trial by jury in civil cases (those dealing with disagreements between two people or people and their governments). These are not punishable by death. EIGHTH AMENDMENT:  EIGHTH AMENDMENT “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” EIGHTH AMENDMENT:  EIGHTH AMENDMENT The government cannot demand a person to pay bail or fines that are too high and unreasonable. Also, punishment for a crime cannot be cruel or unusual. NINTH AMENDMENT:  NINTH AMENDMENT “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. NINTH AMENDMENT:  NINTH AMENDMENT Entitles you to rights not listed in the Constitution. TENTH AMENDMENT:  TENTH AMENDMENT “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” TENTH AMENDMENT:  TENTH AMENDMENT Powers not given to the U.S. government are reserved to the states or to the people. More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1):  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1) “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” FOURTHEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1):  FOURTHEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1) States cannot make or enforce laws that take away rights given to all citizens by the federal government. States cannot act unfairly or arbitrarily toward, or discriminate against, any person. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (LAST AMENDMENT:  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (LAST AMENDMENT In 2005 and 2006 Texas Attorney General Grey Abbott issued two opinions that military veterans who were not U.S. citizens when they joined the service no longer qualified for an 85-year-old Texas program known as the Hazlewood exemption that waives college tuition. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1):  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1) Before Abbott’s opinion, most state universities and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had interpreted the term “Texas citizen” in the Education Code to mean the veteran had lived in Texas for a year before enlisting, regardless of U.S. citizenship. After Abbott’s opinion, universities began rejecting applications from vets who were legal permanent residents but not U.S. citizens when they enlisted, including those who became citizens after enlisting. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1):  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1) Abbott stuck by his office’s ruling, even as lawmakers and veterans advocates complained that denying benefits based on citizenship was discriminatory and opposed to the intent of the Texas Legislature. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of several veterans, arguing that the state was violating the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against the veterans on the basis of citizenship. FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1):  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT (SECTION 1) A week after MALDEF asked a federal court to intervene, Abbott took the rare step of officially withdrawing his opinions, stating in a letter to the Texas representative originally requesting the opinions that he had come to realize that the law, as he interpreted it, violated the U.S. Constitutions. Texas attorney generals have withdrawn only 17 of their opinions in the past 40 years. 27TH (LAST) AMENDMENT UNUSUAL:  27TH (LAST) AMENDMENT UNUSUAL Proposed 1789 Ratified 203 years later Was one of those two amendments not included in the Bill of Rights. Says that Congress can vote itself a pay raise but the raise can’t go into effect until after there has been an election (so we can throw the bums out if we’re too mad) BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT:  BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT There has been talk on Capitol Hill for years about adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require Congress to spend no more than the revenue that comes in (i.e., live within its means)—it’s referred to as a “balanced budget amendment.” Even though the Republican Party has always claimed to be the party of smaller government, under President George W. Bush, the real annual growth rate of government outlays is nearly at its highest percentage: BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT:  BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT Under Bill Clinton: 1.5% Under Ronald Reagan: 2.6% Under Lyndon Johnson 5.7% Under George W. Bush 5.6% (likely to increase) The big spending by Republican President George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress is not all due to the war in Iraq—domestic spending increase is 7.1% a year, the highest since the 1960’s. ERA AMENDMENT NEVER ADDED:  ERA AMENDMENT NEVER ADDED Equal Rights Amendment was proposed but never ratified Said: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” Needed ¾’s of the states (38) to ratify within 7 years, but at the end of 7 years only 35 states had ratified. Congress extended the ratification period for an additional 3 years, but ERA was still not ratified. AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS:  AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS A new amendment is being considered in the wake of September 11: If a large number of Senators were killed in terrorist act, they could easily be replaced because Constitution allows governors to appoint replacements to serve until the next regular election There’s a problem though if a large number of U.S. Representatives were killed because a minimum quorum of half the members must be present in order for House to conduct business and replacements for U.S. Representatives are voted on by us in specially-called elections (which take a long time to set up). AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS:  AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS On 9/11 Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers took control of the plane – what would have happened if the plane had hit its original target, the Capitol, and a large number of Congressmen would have been killed? Current Constitution calls for direct election of replacements for Representatives – could take up to six months to organize and hold an election – in the meantime, if no quorum, no law could be passed in the United States AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS:  AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS Current amendment being considered by House: If half of the House members killed, disabled or missing and presumed dead, governors could appoint House members for a 90-day term until special election set up and held. Recently was defeated in the House (seems to be a feeling that no one should ever serve in the House unless they are elected by the citizens). A similar version is still being considered by the Senate. In the meantime, Congress has passed a law requiring the special elections to be held within 45 days. Congress would thus be able to pass necessary laws AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS:  AMENDMENT RE REPLACING U.S. HOUSE MEMBERS After September 11, 2001 Congress passed a number of important acts (requiring action by both branches of Congress and the President): Authorization of military force Emergency rescue aid Airline aid Money for war on terrorism and assistance to Victims AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE:  AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE Ever since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in May 2004, there has been an effort to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage (President Bush supports adding this amendment). The U.S. House passed a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and providing that neither federal nor state constitutions can “be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.” The proposed amendment has not been passed by the U.S. Senate. AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE:  AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE The Texas Constitution does have an amendment banning gay marriage (ratified November 8, 2005, by Texans at the ballot box--Texas also has a DOMA law [Defense of Marriage Act]). William Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School, wrote the following in a recent Houston Chronicle editorial: AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE:  AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE “Will gay marriage undermine marriage? No. As proof we look at the long history of same-sex marriage (as registered partnerships) in Scandinavia. Denmark has been registering same-sex partners since 1989, Norway since 1993 and Sweden since 1995. Marriage Protection Amendment supporters claim that marriage has eroded in these countries as a result of their experiment with same-sex marriage. Our book reports the actual evidence from these countries.” AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE:  AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE “Before Denmark recognized same-sex couples in 1989, the Danish marriage rate was falling, and the divorce and nonmarital childbirth rates soared. If the President was right that gay marriage harms the institution, one would expect these trends to accelerate after that country recognized lesbian and gay partnerships.” AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE:  AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE “The opposite occurred: After 1989, the marriage rate increased, the divorce rate fell and the rate of childbirths outside of marriage declined for the first time in decades. Similar but less dramatic trends occurred in other Scandinavian countries. State recognition of lesbian and gay unions does not harm the institution of marriage.” AMENDMENT PROTECTING FLAG:  AMENDMENT PROTECTING FLAG In June 2005 the U.S. House once again approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to pass a law protecting the American flag –In June 2006 the U.S. Senate rejected the flag protection amendment by a single vote, again defeating efforts to negate a 1989 Supreme Court ruling in a Texas case that said burning the flag was symbolic speech that was protected by the first amendment. This is the third time the U.S. Senate has voted down the amendment. WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT:  WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT An amendment was proposed in 1978 which would give residents in Washington, D.C. representation in Congress (1 Representative and 2 Senators) – only 16 states ratified the proposal.. Once again, such an amendment is being discussed in Congress—in April 2007 the Democratically-controlled House passed a bill that would increase House membership to 437, giving the largely Democratic half-million residents of the D.C. district a House seat and adding a temporary at-large seat for GOP-leaning Utah—the House has had 435 seats since 1960. WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT:  WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT Opponents of the bill point to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution which says that members of the House should be chosen “by the people of the several states”—most judges and legal experts agree that since D.C. is not a state, it cannot elect members of the Congress. WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT:  WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT Supporters of the amendment say the Constitution grants Congress the constitutional power “to exercise exclusive legislation over” the seat of government—therefore, Congress can exercise its “exclusive legislation” power to nullify Article I, Section 2’s requirement that House members be chosen by the people “of the several states.” WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT:  WASHINGTON, D.C. AMENDMENT Over half a million people live in D.C. (more than in the state of Wyoming), and currently they have no representation in Congress. They do, however, have 3 electoral votes in the Electoral College and therefore have some say-so in who’s elected president. In September 2007, the Senate failed to pass the bill. BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS Written by State Representative Mitchell Kaye from Georgia We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS and our great-great-great grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bedwetters. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a “Bill of No Rights.” BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything. ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone—not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be. BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy. ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we’re just not interested in public health care. BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don’t be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair. ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don’t be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS you away in a place where you still won’t have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure. ARTICLE VIII: You don’t have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won’t life a finger to stop you from going to fight if you’d like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat. BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS ARTICLE IX: You don’t have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful. BILL OF NO RIGHTS:  BILL OF NO RIGHTS ARTICLE X: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness – which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.” We just think it is about time that common sense is allowed to flourish – call it the age of reason revisited. CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION:  CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION European Union (EU) worked for two years to draft a 474-page constitution which needs to be ratified by all 25 members countries in order to take effect. So far, 9 EU countries have ratified the document, but in May 2005 the French rejected the constitution by a substantial 55-45 vote. Shortly thereafter voters in the Netherlands also voted against the constitution. CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION:  CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION In 2004 the EU expanded to 25 countries with 450 million citizens and an economy the size of America The draft constitution set up a European Union which would never be able to rival Superpower United States The draft constitution provided for: CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION:  CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION Foreign Policy: EU will only call the shots if all 25 countries unanimously agree on foreign policy (they often disagree as they did over Iraq) – end result: foreign policy will effectively remain with the individual 25 national governments. Money and Military: States retain power over these – the EU has no power to raise its own taxes, and although the EU will have a rapid-reaction military force, it will fall short of a truly sizable “euro army” that can rival the US army. CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION:  CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPEAN UNION Other Powers: The EU will have significant powers in the areas of: Criminal law Trade Monetary power Farming Executive Branch: The EU will have a high-profile president and a foreign minister which both can speak with authority for the 25 member countries FRENCH CONSTITUTION:  FRENCH CONSTITUTION France has had more than a dozen constitutions since 1789. The current constitution is 49 years old. France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has created a commission on constitutional reform. AFGHANISTAN’S CONSTITUTION:  AFGHANISTAN’S CONSTITUTION Ratified January 4, 2004. Establishes a democratic Islamic republic under a strong presidency; a 2-chamber parliament; and, an independent judiciary. Declares men and women equal before the law. Recognizes minority language rights. Afghanistan held its first free election in 2002 and elected Hamid Karzai its first president. IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION:  IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION The current constitution of Iraq was approved by a referendum that took place on October 15, 2005. The document was primarily drafted by Shiite and Kurdish leaders because the Sunni Muslims have for the most part boycotted the proceedings. IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION:  IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION The various factions have agreed on several controversial provisions. They agreed on a formula to share Iraq’s oil wealth (according to population). They agreed that Islam will be the main source of legislation. But, apparently any Iraqi is free to reject Islamic law and opt instead for a secular court. The country has a single military under the control of the civil authority. IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION:  IRAQ’S CONSTITUTION There is a “transitional” provision reserving a quarter of the National Assembly’s seats for women (women are nervous about it being of questionable duration). There’s a provision declaring that education is mandatory through elementary school (women’s rights groups wanted education mandatory through middle school) VENEZUELA’S CONSTITUTION:  VENEZUELA’S CONSTITUTION In December 2007, Venezuelans voted on a number of proposed amendments to their constitution that would have, if passed, drastically increased the powers of President Hugo Chavez. Chavez would have been able to control the Central Bank. Chavez would have been able to be president for as long as he wanted because there would no longer be term limits (like his friend Fidel Castro in Cuba) Chavez would have been able to consolidate power by being able to appoint his friends as governors and mayors. VENEZUELA’S CONSTITUTION:  VENEZUELA’S CONSTITUTION Venezuelan voters did not approve the amendments.

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